Crew and US Men's National Team legend Brian McBride took the time to answer a few questions for TheCrew.com ahead of Tuesday's World Cup Qualifier at Crew Stadium. Here's what the former striker had to say:
Cody Sharrett: Welcome, Brian. First of all, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for TheCrew.com ahead of tomorrow's World Cup Qualifying match between Jamaica and the United States. What is it that has made Crew Stadium such a fortress for the US National Team?
Brian McBride: I think [Columbus] was the first area and the first site that was really organized to try and make sure that they had a very pro-US fan base. I know you had to be a member of US Soccer and everything to get tickets in the beginning. It's also the first soccer-specific stadium. So, I think along with those two things put together, you have unique scenario where it creates this sort of home away from home for the US National Team. The fact that [the recent teams] and we did very well there, just adds to the momentum of what a great venue [Crew Stadium] is.
CS: Coming off the loss in Jamaica Friday night, how important is it for the match to be at Crew Stadium, where the team has had so much success in the past?
BM: I think there's a lot of things to be excited about with the fact the team is back in Columbus. Not just the fact that they know the fans will be behind them, but they know they are very familiar with the field and playing there and doing well there. I think having a field that is of high quality where you can pass the ball quickly, you're able to enjoy less of a softer field that slows the game down and allows other teams to get behind the ball like Jamaica was able to recover and get behind the ball when they lost it very quickly. [The US] is very physical. Hopefully, being at home, things go your way a little bit more.
CS: Obviously, you're a Crew legend, but what are some of your favorite memories of playing in Red, White, and Blue in front of the fans in the city where you saw so much success?
BM: I have great memories of being able to walk out there in the National Team jersey. It was a great change up for me because normally when I left for the National Team, for a long while, it wouldn't be in the city of Columbus. For me, probably my biggest memory is when we qualified for the World Cup and we were able to celebrate and ran around the field with the flags. Getting the chance to do that with what I considered my home at the time was really enjoyable. I wasn't living there at the time, but it was one of those things where I had been there so long and to be able to be back there in the city for the week and getting the chance to run around the field with the same fans that I got to play in front of when I was with Columbus made it very special.
CS: I hate to put you on the spot, but: USA vs. Mexico anywhere in the country, where would you play it?
BM: It shows, why would you play it anywhere but Columbus? If you want a bigger gate, of course, play it in the Rose Bowl or the Coliseum or Houston or Dallas. But for us, as US soccer players and for me now as a US soccer fan, you always want to see your team win and give it its best advantage to win. Columbus has always been a great venue for the Men's National Team. I know you baited me with that question, but I will bite and say Crew Stadium.
CS: Brian, thank you so much and good luck with FOX Soccer this season.